BOEING 777 ENGINE CATCHES FIRE AFTER JET LEAVES DENVER AIRPORT
David Delucia was settling back into his airplane seat and starting to relax on his way to a long-awaited vacation when a huge explosion and flash of light interrupted an in-flight announcement and put him in survival mode.
The Boeing 777-200, headed from Denver to Honolulu on Saturday with 231 passengers and 10 crew members aboard, suffered a catastrophic failure in its right engine and flames erupted under the wing as the plane began to lose altitude, Gillian Flaccus and David Zalubowski reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Based on initial photos and videos posted by passengers, aviation safety experts said the plane appeared to have suffered an uncontained and catastrophic engine failure.
Such an event is extremely rare and happens when huge spinning pieces inside the engine suffer some sort of failure and breach an armored casing around the engine that is designed to contain the damage, said John Cox, an aviation safety expert and retired airline pilot who runs an aviation safety consulting firm called Safety Operating Systems.
Former NTSB Chairman Jim Hall called the incident another example of “cracks in our culture in aviation safety (that) need to be addressed.”
Hall, who was on the board from 1994 to 2001, has criticized the FAA over the past decade as “drifting toward letting the manufacturers provide the aviation oversight that the public was paying for.”
That goes especially for Boeing, he said. The last fatality on a U.S. airline flight involved such an engine failure on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas in April 2018.
A passenger was killed when the engine disintegrated more than 30,000 feet above Pennsylvania and debris struck the plane, breaking the window next to her seat.
was forced halfway out the window before other passengers pulled her back inside.